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Club News

Gaffer on a Sunday - Part One

26 July 2012

As part of our ongoing Sunday update exclusively caught up with boss Steve Evans this morning, and we started by asking him about the first week of pre-season.

The players reported back on Monday for pre-season training, how has the week gone?

The lads have reported back in good shape, the fitness levels are good.

It would be fair to say that the lads have worked hard and there is a lot more of that to come but they have got on with it in a real professional way. We introduced the footballs towards the end of the week and that again will continue as we go through pre-season.

The good news is that we have got through the first week of pre-season without any new injuries, niggles or strains so it will be a full complement of players on the training ground for now. I am a firm believer that every player needs a solid pre-season if they are to perform at their best during the season so let us hope I am reporting a similar situation this time next week.

The press have reported that you have further or renewed interest in AFC Bournemouth striker Matt Tubbs, is this true?

Earlier last week that was certainly true but AFC Bournemouth have now made it very clear that Tubbsy is not for sale and is a concrete part of their plans. That for now is the matter closed and I wish the lad every success in the season ahead. I have said many times he is a quality striker and I have a lot of time for him on and off the pitch but we now move on.

You also said that you were discussing with the Chairman about making a new six figure bid for a striker, has that offer been made? 

The answer to that is no. I had a long meeting with the Chairman and it involved a number of points, one of these was talking about the players I wish to add to the squad.

As always he was fully supportive and transfer funds are available to me but I will only spend the money wisely. The striker I had in mind was valued by his club at £250,000, we will not be doing any business for that lad at that kind of price.

I will always try and ensure we get value for money, to date we have done some great business and that focus must continue.

Nothing has changed, a striker, a ball playing midfielder, a versatile left sided defender and our targeted young loan striker are what I want before the season starts and we have plenty of time.

Tickets for the pre-season matches are now on sale to season ticket holders, are you and the players excited about playing at the New York Stadium?

Everyone is excited about being in the new stadium, it really is fantastic. Our home matches are all against quality opposition with Scottish Premier League Hearts our most challenging. They are second favourites behind Glasgow Celtic to win the league and our match with them is their final match prior to them starting the season, it will be a huge test for us.

The tickets for all the pre-season matches will be sold out very quickly so please ensure you purchase one at the earliest opportunity. Rotherham United has come home and we are proud to be back in the community where we belong, join us at the New York Stadium and help us put in place the best ground atmosphere in Yorkshire.

Our first pre-season fixture is at Parkgate FC on Saturday, which players will be involved? 

I selected Parkgate FC because I wanted to acknowledge the support from the people who run that football club. It is fair to say I also wanted our first fixture of pre-season to be in Rotherham itself so our supporters could come and watch without any travelling.

It has been categorised a first team fixture and all the first team squad players will be stripped alongside the likes of young Mitchell Rose and Alec Denton. Paul Warne and Paul Raynor have both been badgering me to play a part but it solely depends on whether they can give a few quid to the Bluebell Wood Hospice.

I will not select the actual team until the morning of the match. The players will train in the morning prior to the match so they will naturally be tired but hopefully over the 90 minutes we can give a number of them some match time.

It will be great to get back playing football and for us to see our supporters looking forward to a new season. Hopefully our Chairman, Tony Stewart, will be in attendance, please remember to thank him for giving us the Rotherham United we have today.

Have you selected your captain for the new season?

Good question and a timely one, the answer is no.

Within the next few weeks I will select four players that I believe are capable of doing that job. One of them will most certainly be Johnny Mullins who has only impressed me since I joined the club in April.

However, I want you, our supporters to help me pick who it should be. To me, being captain is a pivotal role and someone who must have the skills to do the job. Pride, ability, leadership, respect and tenacity are just a few areas that will be considered when I select the four lads, then you can help me pick our man.

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